The Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes, “there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent” (WCF 15.4), no matter the sin, Christians can always approach God with confidence in His compassion. When we confess our transgressions, we can trust that in God’s compassion He will forgive us.
Throughout the four Gospels, readers are flooded with examples of the compassion of Christ. In His miracles, Christ shows His compassion by giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, and curing people with extreme sickness. In His parables, He consistently shows that God’s heart is geared toward compassion and His desire is for His followers to be similarly compassionate.
However, the greatest example of the compassion of the Messiah came at the end of His earthly ministry. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for sinners is the culmination of His compassion, an action that allows Christians to be confident in their standing before God.
Contributing to Christ’s Death
Isaiah 53 provides a picture of the greatness of Christ’s compassion. The first half of verse 3 says, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” God came to the earth as man, and men rejected Him.
At first reading, this verse appears to speak of the men that were physically present during the crucifixion, or possibly more broadly this verse appears to apply to the Jews of the day. However, Isaiah, writing at least 600 years before the life of Christ, says at the end of the verse, “He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Why would Isaiah include himself with those who offended Christ?
Isaiah included himself as an offender of Christ because he, just like the rest of mankind, had sinned against God throughout his life. In chapter 6, he makes this claim: “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5)
We cannot read Isaiah 53:3 and claim that the context exempts us from including ourselves. While Isaiah was not present during the crucifixion, he included himself as an offender of the Holy God. Similarly, when we read Isaiah 53 ought to include ourselves as offenders. We participated in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.